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Bill Thayer

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Scene 77
This webpage reproduces a section of
A Description of the Trajan Column
by John Hungerford Pollen

printed by George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode,
printers to Queen Victoria
London, 1874

Text and engravings are in the public domain.
Any color photographs are © William P. Thayer 1997-


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Scene 79

SCENES OF THE SPIRAL BAND RUNNING UP THE SHAFT

LXXVIII. March of the legionaries

From the archway described, the army of the emperor is again set in motion. It is not clear which of the two bodies in which the Roman army moved forward to attack that Dacian capital is here represented, that led by the emperor in person up the course of the Tjerna by the rocky pass abutting on the Danube at the iron gates, or the larger body sent by him down the Danube as far as the confluence of the river Aluta, with directions to march up the valley through which that river flows.

The legionaries cross a bridge over one of the rivers flowing along the respective valleys through which each army passed. At the head of the line of march marches the emperor himself in full armour, followed immediately by a figure dressed in civil costume, wearing a sleeved tunic, and over it the paludamentum or military cloak. This figure has been supposed to represent Hadrian, the successor of Trajan, who accompanied him in this second Dacian expedition, and who specially represented a policy of peace. The background consists of a lofty bank or cliff of rock, possibly representing the narrow defile leading northwards from the iron gates, or scenery meant by the sculptor to be suitable to such a route. Trajan is again represented on horseback. The emperor holds up his right hand with which he salutes the soldiers seen in the next composition, who are on the look out for his arrival.


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Page updated: 27 Nov 01